Re: Why Sex ?

Anders Sandberg (
18 Dec 1997 22:21:09 +0100

Philos Anthropy <> writes:

> I would suggest that primitive sex evolved similarly to the way it
> is still done in bacteria. Yes bacteria usually are asexual but on
> rare occasion they exchange genetic information in a process called
> conjugation in which "plus" (+) and minus (-) or positve and
> negative strands. The F+ or male has a plasmid that codes for a
> projectile (called a "sex pilus", really it is) that then penetrates
> the F- or female bacteria and initiates conjugation with an
> endonuclease that nicks one strand of the double helix of the F-.
> The F- strand then adds this F+ strand DNA to her genome as she
> synthesizes a complementary strand. No courting. No romance :-(

Is conjugation that rare? I was on a lecture about how plasmids evolve
(they are selfish replicators, after all, and do their best to
maximize their fitness) and I got the impression they are sometimes
almost littering the cellular environment.

And by the way, there has to be some chemical courting for the sex
pilus to find the F- bacteria - chemotactic desire...

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y